Life Since High School

Byron MacDonald

Byron in 1968
Byron was the first All-American Athlete ever (in any sport) at New Trier West, and has continued to pursue his passion for swimming through all the succeeding years.
From the Senior Yearbook

An All-American at the University of Michigan from 1970-1972, Byron was ranked top ten in the world from 1970-1975, swimming in meets such as the PanAm Games and Commonwealth Games, winning golds and silvers in places like Moscow, Colombia, Australia, New Zealand, London, Paris and Scotland, not to mention all over the United States and Canada. He swam in the 1972 Olympics, placing 6th in the 100 meter butterfly. "It was a great ride while I did it," he says. And although Byron would have made the American Olympic team as well, he chose to represent his parents' homeland of Canada - where he ended up settling.

After taking both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan, Byron was named the head coach at the University of Toronto, where he has remained for the past 20 years. During these years he has coached over fifty swimmers to international teams, including one who won a medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where Byron was on the Canadian coaching staff.

Also for the past 20 years Byron has been a TV commentator for major international events on CBC - the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Unlike network TV in the US, CBC covers all the races, regardless of who wins, very appealing to true fans of athletic competition. Those of us who live in or near Canada or have satellite dishes will next be able to catch Byron on CBC in early August of 1999 when he covers the PanAmerican games, four hours a day (two morning, two evening) for seven days. Then in the year 2000 he will be on live again from Sydney, Australia for the Olympics from September 15-22.

Byron and his wife, Lisha vanLeeuwen, a marketing director with Sun Life Assurance, have been married ten years. They have three children: sons Troy, 8, and Shane, 6, and a daughter, Kenzie, 4. They live in Toronto - "one of the greatest cities in the world."

Byron ended his biographical summary by saying, "My hope is that the Olympic buildup will not preclude me from zipping into Chicago for the 2000 reunion. I cherish the times that I have been able to visit with old classmates Jim Naylor, Duff Rafferty, Bob Brown and Steve (REM) White, and certainly hope that I will see them and everyone else at the reunion."